By Chris Emma–
(670 The Score) Bears general manager Ryan Pace maintained his typical tone in early January when pressed with the question Chicago had been asking itself for months: What happened to quarterback Mike Glennon?
“I have no regrets in us being aggressive in attacking that position — it’s that important,” Pace said during his year-end press conference in January. “We all felt confident in Mike and sometimes in our business, things don’t work out.
“Being aggressive at that position, in essence we took two swings.”
Pace signed Glennon to a three-year deal worth up to $45 million last March. Now, the team is almost certain to release him in the coming weeks to ease the burden of the lofty salary that Glennon didn’t live up to.
Fortunately for the Bears, the signing of Glennon and the questions of why became an afterthought with the promise flashed by rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, the second swing at that position.
The Bears feel comfortable in their future at quarterback thanks to Trubisky, drafted second overall last April. Trubisky took over after Glennon was benched four games into the 2017 season, completing 59.4 percent of his passes for 2,193 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. The necessary context is that Trubisky did produced those results with a shaky supporting cast and play-calling that was predictable.
New head coach Matt Nagy was hired in large part to oversee the development of Trubisky, who’s focused on fixing his mistakes.
As for Pace, this offseason ahead brings some interesting structuring at the quarterback position.
Returning: Mitchell Trubisky, 23
Posed with the question of what Trubisky can be his second season, Nagy didn’t hesitate and provided a telling answer.
Nagy began to highlight the correctable miscues of Trubisky’s rookie season, such as the pre-snap process that often took him close to the play clock expiring. He saw a young quarterback struggling to manage his time at the line of scrimmage, which would often send a play awry.
“To be able to digest the offense to where it can run smoothly without coming out and guys not being able to get out of the huddle,” Nagy said.
“All the other stuff, that will come.”
Nagy was already a fan of Trubisky from a year ago when he coveted the North Carolina product for his Chiefs. A year later, Nagy sees no need for mechanical tweaks and has no fundamental concerns about Trubisky’s game. What he believe Trubisky needs is coaching and more experience.
Chicago will get a much greater sense of Trubisky’s potential in his second season. Nagy has a strong background in developing quarterbacks and bringing out their best. Of course, what Trubisky needs just as much are better receivers.
Likely departing: Mike Glennon, 28; Mark Sanchez, 31
After parting ways with Glennon, how will the Bears structure their quarterback room? This is where Pace can be creative and perhaps take another swing.
Perhaps the Bears will look toward the later rounds of the draft and find another developmental quarterback. One could consider that an insurance policy to Trubisky and simply a wise move for depth at the game’s most important position.
The late rounds are for taking chances, so it could make good sense to try for a quarterback and hope to have struck with a starting-caliber player. At the least, the Bears can aim to draft and develop a quality backup to Trubisky.
There remains a chance Sanchez comes back as the Bears’ backup or third-string quarterback after spending a season working as a mentor and veteran presence for Trubisky, though it’s worth wondering whether he wants such a role again.
The Bears could look at free-agent Chase Daniel, who had a strong rapport working with Nagy in Kansas City and was brought into the league by a Saints organization that included Pace at the time.
Ultimately, the Bears could look for a developmental prospect and a veteran to work alongside Trubisky as Pace swings again at quarterback.